Ricky Williams is among those who expects the New England defense to be much tougher on Sunday.
Said Williams: "We know it's going to be tough for us to get any yards this week."
New England started the season by shutting down the offenses of both Pittsburgh and the Jets, but haven't been able to sustain that level of play.
Coach Bill Belichick said there have been a number of reasons for the decline.
"We need to do a better job of playing team defense all the way around — playing, coaching, executing," Belichick said. "It hasn't been good the last two weeks and it needs to be better."
Despite the expectation of a better New England run defense, it would only make sense for the Dolphins to use Williams early and often — until the Patriots show they can stop him.
The Dolphins got away from Williams in the game against Kansas City and it wound up costing them, as they committed three turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Some players have tried to justify it by saying the Dolphins were playing catch-up most of the way, but the reality is the Dolphins trailed only 38-30 with about nine minutes left when a 7-yard gain by Williams on a pass play left them with a second-and-3.
Instead of going with a Williams run, the Dolphins went for a pass on second down and Jay Fiedler was sacked for a 7-yard loss. On third down, Fiedler was intercepted and the Chiefs turned the turnover into a field goal and a 10-point lead.
Williams never carried the ball in the game.
"We have to be balanced," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "They've had a problem against the run, but we know it'll be a focus for them. For us to be most effective, we have to be balanced. It's the same thing every week."
Fiedler is among those who expect the yards to not come that easily on Sunday.
Said Fiedler: "The last two weeks they've been pretty vulnerable against the run. But we've still go to go out there and execute. We've got to expect they'll be ready to tackle."